Dehradun, Feb 21: Mohammad Nabi and Najibullah Zadran's unbroken 86-run stand led Afghanistan to their eighth Twenty20 International win in a row over Ireland.
In the first of three Twenty20 meetings between the two, Ireland's total of 132-6 was always going to be tricky to defend at Dehradun.
And so it proved, Afghanistan putting up 136-5 to claim a five-wicket victory with four balls to spare.
Ireland won the toss and opted to bat, but it proved an innings of struggle.
Indeed, it was not until Stuart Poynter (31 not out) and George Dockrell (34no) joined forces for an unbeaten 67 that Ireland achieved any sort of momentum.
To their credit, Ireland had their hosts in a tight spot at 50-5 after 7.2 overs, but from there it was the Nabi (49) and Zadran (40) show.
Nabi – who survived a strong claim for lbw while on 18 – had the honour of grabbing the winning runs, sending a low full toss skipping over the ropes for his fifth four of an eye-catching innings.
The sides will meet again at the same venue on Saturday.